Paper 2021/1465

Themis: Fast, Strong Order-Fairness in Byzantine Consensus

Mahimna Kelkar, Soubhik Deb, Sishan Long, Ari Juels, and Sreeram Kannan


We introduce Themis, a scheme for introducing fair ordering of transactions into (permissioned) Byzantine consensus protocols with at most $f$ faulty nodes among $n \geq 4f +1$. Themis is the first such scheme to achieve (optimistic) linear communication complexity. At the same time, it enforces the strongest notion of fair ordering proposed to date. Themis also achieves standard liveness, rather than the weaker notion of previous work. We show experimentally that Themis can be integrated into state-of-the-art consensus protocols with minimal modification or performance overhead. Additionally, we introduce a suite of experiments of general interest for evaluating the practical strength of various notions of fair ordering and the resilience of fair-ordering protocols to adversarial manipulation. We use this suite of experiments to show that the notion of fair ordering enforced by Themis is significantly stronger in theory and for realistic workloads than those of competing systems. We believe Themis offers strong practical protection against many types of transaction-ordering attacks---such as front-running and back-running---that are currently impacting commonly used smart contract systems.

Available format(s)
Cryptographic protocols
Publication info
Preprint. Minor revision.
Contact author(s)
mahimna @ cs cornell edu
2021-11-06: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Mahimna Kelkar and Soubhik Deb and Sishan Long and Ari Juels and Sreeram Kannan},
      title = {Themis: Fast, Strong Order-Fairness in Byzantine Consensus},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2021/1465},
      year = {2021},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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